A United Nations body has tagged the Philippines as the “most ready” among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) 10-member states to implement a massive infrastructure build-up, a Finance department official said.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Unescap) made the statement during a recent workshop on infrastructure financing strategies, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said.
Positive factors cited, he said, include substantial financing opportunities from the Philippines’ development partners, the government’s tax reform program and rising revenue collections, and a declining debt service ratio..
Also noted was the country’s strong financial system, which is awash with liquidity and supported by good supervision and a rising savings rate.
Beltran said that Unescap also cited the government’s “strong project evaluation and prioritization system based on economic viability” in undertaking infra projects and a right-of way law that encourages the government and landowners to agree promptly on transactions for infrastructure projects.
Another favorable factor “is the country’s public-private partnership (PPP) law that sets up an institution and a set of rules to implement projects in an orderly manner and a private sector that is aggressive in participating,” he said.
“However, the workshop also took note of the dearth of projects from less developed regions and scanty participation by the local government units, despite the assistance available for their PPP projects through the Municipal Development Fund Office,” Beltran said.
The Duterte government aims to spend between P8 trillion and P9 trillion over its six-year term on roads, railways, airports, seaports, and other big-ticket infrastructure projects under its “Build Build Build” program.